What Love Is

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
a blind man reflects...

Submitted: February 08, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 08, 2017



The sharp, sweet scent of lilacs, fighting through the oppressive acridity of exhaust fumes. That is the first thing I smell as I step off the bus at the corner of 43rd. It comforts more, that smell, every time I step off the bus. It tells me I’m secure here, away from the disorienting movements of the vehicle. Away from the uncomfortable sensation of pitying eyes of the other passengers.

“Take care, Scott.” The deep, scratchy voice of the bus driver reaches my ears as I step down to the curb. I raise my hand in farewell, as per usual, until I hear the whine of the brakes as the bus takes off towards its next stop. I turn around to face the flower shop and breathe in the springtime wafting from its open doors before walking inside. I remember coming here a few years back, when I was about 25, looking for some roses for Kate. I couldn’t help but admire the color exploding from the shop. The reds and whites. The blues and yellows. I remember the young florist’s pearly-white smile as she helped me pick the perfect bouquet of red. Kate’s blue eyes lit up, just like that florist’s smile, when I gave her the flowers that evening. Now, with a solitary stem in hand, I feel my wedding ring around my finger as I remember.

I begin to make my way home and can’t help but smile at the idea that, as a child, I used to find this routine trek quite dull. The drab buildings caked in grey, the harsh noise, the flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. That world wasn’t for me, the quiet by who liked to hide in the library or music room every day with a good book, away from the curious classmates looking for conversation. So I never bothered to really look at what was around me, letting my feet guide me from one block to the next until I reached home. If only I knew…

Shortly after my 18th birthday, I woke up to find that the faces of family, friends and strangers had suddenly begun to coalesce into a brown haze. No treatment seemed to stop it. I could ignore the world no longer. There were a few tears of frustration in the beginning, but I had to learn to start feeling and hearing my way through life – my new life. The worst moment was waking up on a cold Monday about a year ago and turning to face my dear Kate, only to realize that I couldn’t tell the difference between her face and the lamp on the bedside table behind her.

I cried bitterly then.

But I’m adapting, and those tears are gone.

Now, I am more aware of my surroundings on this journey homewards than I ever was in my first 18 years. The thud of my shoes against the pavement no longer seemed so dully monotonous, especially now that I can tap out the rhythm of my footsteps with my can in a way that’s almost musical; I make beats by waving my arm back and forth like a conductor. The roar of car engines grows and fades with the traffic on my left, blurting its own harsh song as a helpful warning. A few people pass by and their voices enter my little bubble, but, soon enough, the bits of chatter are carried away by the voices’ owners heading in the opposite direction. The concrete underfoot is a comfort now, an indication of the solid ground that I rely on so much. The warmth of sunlight washes over my arms and face in strips, squeezing between the obstructive buildings. I know I’m close to home when their shadows fall away and the warmth becomes a near constant presence. I make a final right at the appropriate intersection and take twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six steps. The concrete becomes gravel, I make my way up the front walk, and it’s only a few moments after I press the doorbell that I hear the door crack open.

“Welcome home, dear.” And just like that, Kate’s arms are around me. Her cotton sleeve caresses my neck as she plans a cool kiss on my right cheek.

I reach out my hand to give her the flower I bought and my lips can’t help but curve upwards as she gasps and thanks me, her voice rising half an octave out of joy.

I just wish I could still see her eyes light up along with it.

© Copyright 2018 Natalie A.. All rights reserved.

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